But they just live among heaped boulders, damp with continual droppings from above, with no more furniture than two or three tin pans, a truss of rotten straw, and a few ragged cloaks. In winter the surf bursts into the mouth and often forces them to abandon it.
An EMEUTE of disappointed fishers was feared, and two ships of war are in the bay to render assistance to the municipal authorities. This is the ides; and, to all intents and purposes, said ides are passed. Still there is a good deal of disturbance, many drunk men, and a double supply of police. I saw them sent for by some people and enter an inn, in a pretty good hurry: what it was for I do not know.
You would see by papa's letter about the carpenter who fell off the staging: I don't think I was ever so much excited in my life. The man was back at his work, and I asked him how he was; but he was a Highlander, and - need I add it? - dickens a word could I understand of his answer. What is still worse, I find the people here-about - that is to say, the Highlanders, not the northmen - don't understand ME.
I have lost a shilling's worth of postage stamps, which has damped my ardour for buying big lots of 'em: I'll buy them one at a time as I want 'em for the future.
The Free Church minister and I got quite thick. He left last night about two in the morning, when I went to turn in. He gave me the enclosed. - I remain your affectionate son,
R. L. STEVENSON.
Letter: TO MRS. THOMAS STEVENSON
WICK, September 5, 1868. MONDAY.
MY DEAR MAMMA, - This morning I got a delightful haul: your letter of the fourth (surely mis-dated); Papa's of same day; Virgil's BUCOLICS, very thankfully received; and Aikman's ANNALS, a precious and most acceptable donation, for which I tender my most ebullient thanksgivings. I almost forgot to drink my tea and eat mine egg.
It contains more detailed accounts than anything I ever saw, except Wodrow, without being so portentously tiresome and so desperately overborne with footnotes, proclamations, acts of Parliament, and citations as that last history.
I have been reading a good deal of Herbert. He's a clever and a devout cove; but in places awfully twaddley (if I may use the word). Oughtn't this to rejoice Papa's heart -
'Carve or discourse; do not a famine fear. Who carves is kind to two, who talks to all.'
You understand? The 'fearing a famine' is applied to people gulping down solid vivers without a word, as if the ten lean kine began to-morrow.
Do you remember condemning something of mine for being too obtrusively didactic. Listen to Herbert -
'Is it not verse except enchanted groves And sudden arbours shadow coarse-spun lines? Must purling streams refresh a lover's loves? MUST ALL BE VEILED, WHILE HE THAT READS DIVINES CATCHING THE SENSE AT TWO REMOVES?'
You see, 'except' was used for 'unless' before 1630.
TUESDAY. - The riots were a hum. No more has been heard; and one of the war-steamers has deserted in disgust.
The MOONSTONE is frightfully interesting: isn't the detective prime? Don't say anything about the plot; for I have only read on to the end of Betteredge's narrative, so don't know anything about it yet.
I thought to have gone on to Thurso to-night, but the coach was full; so I go to-morrow instead.
To-day I had a grouse: great glorification.
There is a drunken brute in the house who disturbed my rest last night. He's a very respectable man in general, but when on the 'spree' a most consummate fool. When he came in he stood on the top of the stairs and preached in the dark with great solemnity and no audience from 12 P.M. to half-past one. At last I opened my door. 'Are we to have no sleep at all for that DRUNKEN BRUTE?' I said. As I hoped, it had the desired effect. 'Drunken brute!' he howled, in much indignation; then after a pause, in a voice of some contrition, 'Well, if I am a drunken brute, it's only once in the twelvemonth!' And that was the end of him; the insult rankled in his mind; and he retired to rest.